Monday, August 02, 2004

Communities in Illinois Take Unique Local Approach to Tort Reform

Two small communities in Illinois have taken tort reform to the local level by passing local ordinances which place caps on noneconomic damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice cases. The ordinance also requires that such lawsuits be filed in the county where the alleged malpractice took place.

Carbondale (population 25,000) and Marion (population 16,624) have both passed ordinances and nearby Herrin (population 11,406) passed a resolution supporting Carbondale's action. Another community, Mount Vernon (population 16,486) was considering a local ordinance.

Carbondale and Marion passed their ordinances under Illinois' "home-rule" authority. Under home rule, cities have a broad right to pass laws dealing with issues of particular concern in their communities. Cities with more than 25,000 residents are entitled to home rule automatically. Residents in smaller cities can adopt these powers through a referendum. Carbondale's and Marion's tort reform ordinances cap noneconomic damages at three times the economic damages. Trial lawyers believe that the ordinances are unconstitutional and unfair to injured patients.

You can read more about this story here.

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